Monthly Archives: February 2017

Black Love: Remembering Gerald and Theon

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Black Love: Remembering Gerald and Theon

February is the month that African Americans celebrate Black History Month. “Black History Month also known as National African American History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.” Those such as Booker T. Washington, Madam C.J. Walker, Crispus Attucks, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, and the first black president, Barack Hussein Obama.

February is also designated as the month of love. A time that we express our love to the special people in our life. And on this 26th day of February I want to designate it as Black Love Day. This idea won’t be picked up by Hallmark and it won’t receive national attention; but it will always be the day that I celebrate black love. You see, it was the day that Theon Dixon from Kinston, North Carolina married Gerald L. Smith Sr., from Baltimore, Maryland.


Gerald (affectionately known as Butch to his family and friends) and Theon met in 1965. The story is told that there was an instant connection between them, as though they had known one another all of their life. But Theon was already married to a man name Henry. And so Gerald and Theon lost touch with one another. If Gerald were alive today, he’d tell us that he never forgot Theon and had hoped that one day their paths would meet again. And as chance would have it, their paths did meet again many years later….1980 to be exact.

Theon was divorced from Henry and raising her two children in Baltimore. I am not exactly sure of the circumstances that reunited Gerald and Theon, but I do recall Gerald sharing with me many years later that once he found her again he was determined to not let her go. And so Gerald and Theon began dating and on February 26, 1987, Gerald and Theon became husband and wife.

Sounds like the makings of a storybook romance doesn’t it? The reality is there would be challenges and struggles on top of challenges and struggles and many believed that their relationship was dysfunctional and would not survive. But through the tumultuous, stormy, bumpy ride of the relationship, I like to say that the love they had for one another sustained them.

Admittedly, I was one of those persons who wished that the relationship would end. And I was also one of the people who did not celebrate their marriage. In fact, I did not attend the wedding. But as the years went on and I began to see the miracle working power of Jesus Christ transform my mother and my stepdad, my perspective began to change. I began to see two people who loved one another and who were committed to one another, defeat the odds and the obstacles. If Theon were alive today she would tell you that there were days she prayed that Gerald would just leave because he got on her nerves. And she would also tell you that God’s response to her prayer was, “You asked me for that man and my grace is sufficient.” Gerald’s response to Theon’s prayer, “I wasn’t going anywhere.”

And so Gerald and Theon lived as husband and wife for 23 years until the Lord called Theon home. One year and eight months later Gerald would join his wife in heaven.

I celebrate my parents today on their anniversary. I imagine them in heaven slow dancing to Stay In My Corner by The Dells as they celebrate what would have been their thirty year wedding anniversary.

 

As I remember my parents and reflect on their covenant, I pray that my husband shares the same level of commitment to our covenant that I do. I pray that we will share the same mindset that divorce is not an option and by any means necessary we will be determined to work through together the curve balls and challenges life can throw at us. That is what my parents did. Yes there were days they did not like one another. Yes there were days they asked the infamous question, “why did I get married? (At least my mother did)” Yes there were days they were not sure the marriage would make it to the next day. BUT, they were committed to one another and they were committed to their covenant.

And so I raise my glass today and salute my parents in heaven Gerald and Theon Smith on their thirty year wedding anniversary.

Happy Anniversary mommy and Mr. Butch. I love you.

 
~ Chocolate Chip

There Is A Balm

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Singleness is a time to reflect. Singleness is a time to be restored. Singleness is a time to heal. Singleness is a time to discover who we are and what we want. Singleness is a time for renewal of the mind, body, and spirit.  Heal. Restore. Mend.

 

Recently a friend’s illustration revealed to me how I have given pieces of myself away in relationships. She took a piece of paper and began to tear it. Each time she tore the paper she said it represented pieces of me that I have given to men over the years. Him. Him. Him. Him. When she had but one small piece of paper left she said that piece of paper was all I had left to give to my husband because I’ve given so much of myself away already.  Ouch.

 

tearing-paper

 

tears

While that revelation was painful to hear, I am reminded that there is a Balm in Gilead.

 

“There is a balm in Gilead

To make the wounded whole;

There is a balm in Gilead

To heal the sin-sick soul”.

Jesus is my Balm in Gilead.  His blood is the balm that is applied to my life to Heal, Restore, and Mend.  I love Matthew Henry’s commentary about the Balm in Gilead.  He says, “God is able to help and to heal.  The blood of Christ is a balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed.”  I am reminded of King David who the bible says was a man after God’s own heart.  Yet we also know that King David dealt with his own sin.  But even through his challenges and difficulties David knew that God was able to restore him.  In Psalm 5:12 David writes:

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you”.

  Psalm 23 also reminds me that God will restore what I have freely given away:

“He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

 My friend’s illustration was painful to hear.  But I rejoice knowing that God loves me so much that he heals, restores, and mends all that is broken and damaged in my life.

“What can wash away my sin……”

Hotep

His Gift 

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His Gift 

I am reading a book by Debi Pearl called Created To Be His Help Meet: Discover how God can make your marriage glorious.  Because my desire is to be married, I have been gleaning wisdom through scripture, books and listening to the wisdom of married couples.Beyond  just being married and being a wife however, my true desire is to be a godly wife. I desire to do marriage as God intended. I desire to be my husband’s crown. I desire for my husband to be proud to call me his wife. But I realized years ago that I would not see the manifestation of my desires with the mindset I had. And so the journey began to learn what kind of wife God desires me to be. 

First, I was introduced to Cheesette Cowan and her book Cultivating A Marriage Mindset which solidified for me that my way of thinking needed to change before I entered into a marriage covenant. And now Debi Pearl is showing me through God’s word and her experiences how to “appreciate the gift of my husband with a thankful heart that produces joy and wisdom in me and my home.” 

In chapter 1 the first thing that leaped off the page for me were these words, “A wise woman doesn’t take anything for granted. She is thankful to be loved and seeks to make herself more lovely.”  

As I read those words I wondered to myself, “how many times have I been guilty of taking someone for granted?” We mistakenly assume that a person is going to be around forever. We make the mistake of thinking that we have time.  I thought of my past relationships and how and it felt to be taken for granted. It is not a pleasant feeling. But we have a tendency to (maybe unknowingly) place our careers and sometimes other people over those we love. We think because we are married to them they should understand and/or they are not going anywhere. But that way of thinking could be setting us up for failure in our marriages. So when I ask God to make me into a wife, it is also my prayer that he gives me the wisdom to not take my husband for granted. 

Part B of the above quote says “she is thankful to be loved and seeks to make herself more lovely.” A dear friend once told me that being a wife is a gift from God. I had never looked at marriage that way but hearing her say that had an impact on me then and has left a lasting impression on me. 

 I was also reminded of conversations I’ve been privy to where women did not see it necessary any longer to go the extra mile to look nice for their husbands. 

We hear that men are visual creatures. And every day our husbands see women who are visually attractive to them. So the question I ask myself is, should he not also come home to his wife and find her looking lovely? 

While dating we pull out all of the stops. We don’t want our boyfriend to see us in sweats or that raggedy tee shirt we love so much. We make sure our hair is neat and we keep our mani/pedi game tight and we have on our lip gloss or maybe our face is beat to the gods. Bottom line, we go the extra mile to always look lovely for our boyfriends. But once we get married we adopt the attitude that he should just accept us as we are. I disagree. 

I am not competing with any woman my husband will see throughout his day, but I also don’t want my husband seeing these other woman who have taken time with their appearance, only to come home and see me looking as though I just rolled out of bed. The same effort I put into dating him, I want to put the same effort  into keeping his interest after we are married. 

In the book Debi Pearl confirms what my friend said years ago: “God gave Adam the most precious gift a man will ever receive-a woman. 

“And the Lord God said, it is not good that man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18) 

And then God “brought her into the man” (Genesis 2:22). 

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22) 

I decree that I  am my husband’s most treasured gift. One that he will cherish and thank God for every day. 

Hotep 

……But First The Process 

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……But First The Process 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

I became a Christian 18 years ago. It was the best decision that I did not make and one that I have never regretted. I love God with all of my heart, all of my mind, all of my soul, and all of my strength. And I struggle with who I am. And I sometimes exhibit anger. And I sometimes get depressed. Now before someone goes and gets their knickers in a twist, please understand that I believe that what I cannot reveal, God cannot heal. And thus, I live my life as an open book for two reasons: First, I know God uses my struggles and my testimony to help someone else. And second, God knows everything about me so why should I care what man thinks? 

There are a lot of people who love God with every ounce of their being, who struggle with something. People who face a battle within their mind every day. Yes, I know word on the street is that once you become a Christian the battle is over or sin magically disappears but is it really? God promises in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” But the distance between what God says and where we are is often times great.

I love God but I have moments when I’m insecure. I love God but I struggle with lust. I love God but I get depressed. I love God but I lack patience. I love God but I get angry sometimes. I love God but my thoughts can sometimes be evil. I love God and I strive daily to obey his word. I strive daily to grow spiritually. But I still fall short often. How is this possible? Because I, like many of God’s people, have an ongoing battle within our mind. 

Satan, our number one enemy, has one job that he takes very seriously: “to kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10). Satan studies us. He takes the time to get to know us. He knows our likes and dislikes. He knows our weaknesses. He listens to our prayers. He…Is….On…His…Job! And the first thing he attacks is our mind! He wants us to believe that we can’t change or that we will never change. He does not want us to ever realize who we are. He wants us to always be insecure, lacking confidence, believing that we have nothing to offer the world. Satan works hard to keep us in bondage because he knows that God predestined each of us for greatness; and he does not want us to reach our full potential. He does not want us to become the men and women God created us to be. But the devil is a liar and the truth can not be found in him anywhere!! 

So how do you and I begin to win the battle in our mind? How do we finally lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1). I am so glad you asked. God tells us to not conform to this world but to renew our mind. Yes, I understand that we live in this world and sadly through life experiences (our own and the experiences of others), what we allow into our ear gate and eye gate, as well as our thoughts, are shaped by the world. But in 1 Peter 2:9 God says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” God has set us apart from the world. He says that we are in the world but not of this world; even as he is not of this world (John 17:16). And so we must be intentional about renewing our mind that we may have the mind of Christ and not the world. 

So how do we do that? How do we renew my mind? Well meaning people will tell you to pray (I’m guilty) and that’s good. Prayer is necessary. But prayer isn’t enough. In Romans 2:12 God does not tell us to pray and ask him to renew our mind. He gives us a command to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. In other words, the process of renewing our mind is equally our responsibility as it is God’s; and I would argue that we share the bulk of the responsibility. 

God promises to be with us through every situation (Deuteronomy 31:6). There is nothing that we will have to face alone when we are walking with God. Being freed from bondage can be scary and the enemy will use that moment to instill fear. For example, this year God told me that my focus is to be on (1) sowing, (2) giving, and (3) tithing. Not that I haven’t been doing these things, but I haven’t been consistent. So this is the year where I change that and it’s scary. And let me tell you, the enemy of my soul is trying to manipulate that. But the Bible says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Making change is always frightening. Renewing our minds will be frightening. But understand that fear is not of God, it’s from the enemy. God promises to be with us. He promised to lead us to all truth. That’s his part. Our part is to seek his truth. Study his word. Let God in every area of our life; not just the areas that we want him him in. The Bible says “in all thy ways acknowledge him.” So we must also acknowledge him in our areas of struggle and know that he is with us. 

We must also ask God for his wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). What does God say about insecurities? What does God say about the spirit of lust? What does God say about anger? Ask him! Ask him to lead you to his truth! He promised that he would give generously but we have to ask! God is faithful to do just what he said. We never have to wonder if God will keep his promises because he will. But we must also take responsibility for our actions. 

There it is…..our part. We must acknowledge the part we play and take responsibility for it. Call a spade a spade. Take a look in the mirror and get completely raw with the person looking back at you. Admit that what you’ve been doing isn’t working and surrender to God so that he can change you from the inside. We have to admit that we can’t do this on our own. We need God every step of the way. But first we have to take responsibility. 

I know that I can’t listen to certain songs; I can’t watch certain shows; I can’t read certain books; I can’t be around certain people. When I place myself in precarious situations I am setting myself up for failure. I have, in that moment, given the enemy that inch; and believe me when I tell you that the enemy does not play fair! Therefore, I have to be intentional about all that I do because when I am not I set the stage for the enemy to come in and trip me up. You know the saying, “Give a person an inch and they will take a mile? That’s how the enemy works. He’s watching and waiting for that inch. But let’s be intentional about not giving him the satisfaction. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. 

Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy; think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” In the fight to win the battle of our mind we must think about good things. When we are thinking on things that are noble and pure and excellent and right, we have less time to think about bad things. And right thoughts often lead to right actions. 

A great deal of what I’ve been taught and/or learned from the world is being challenged. And I am more determined than I have ever been to change how I’ve always thought. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” I desire the mind of Christ and so I am doing my part in the process to renew my mind, trusting that as I do my part God will also do his. 

Hotep